“Dancer Qudus Onikeku, performing Friday at Gallerie 88, was inspired by Fela Kuti”
September 28, 2022
Like most artists-in-the-making, dancer Qudus Onikeku was a self-described weird child. A natural observer who sought solitude, this 12th of 13 siblings routinely spent hours sitting in trees while searching for something ineffable. When he was 5 years old, an answer started to take shape when he saw a classmate do a flip in the schoolyard. Onikeku describes the awakening as a “re-membering” of knowledge gained in a previous life that would guide his choices in this lifetime.
Eight years of gymnastics followed and a second flash of insight charted his course as a professional dancer. Finding the courage to tell his parents about his heart’s desire was no easy feat — they expected their children to become doctors, lawyers, engineers or, at the very least, bankers. But Onikeku stood his ground.